Seen as a design product this is a very modest, unsophisticated project, and yet the scale of the social goal it addresses is major. Rue de Dijon demonstrates how much may be achieved through thoughtful and caring community participation and continuing small interventions in the public realm.
The neighborhood in North Montreal is known for its high population of immigrants, elderly and poor. It is underserved, riven with racism and extreme violence, and lacks hospitable public places that could heal social and cultural tensions.
The City worked with community groups and individuals over a 3-year period to change a small street, two blocks long from a car-dominated space into a people space that brought together the diverse population. The community defined the types of activities they wanted to promote, were involved in construction of modest shelters, planters, skateboard ramps, benches and stalls, and in organizing their own cultural performances, sport and health activities, bike repair, urban agriculture, and entertainment.
The community’s grass roots involvement has allowed citizens to take ownership of the public realm, to enjoy their cultural differences, and to build a commitment to their shared future wellbeing. For the IMCL jury, encouraging children to “get their hands on the place” and engage in many different activities is strongly applauded.
MAKING CITIES LIVABLE CONFERENCES
In concurrence with the judgment of its Design Awards Jury
For Excellence in
Designing Healthy, 10-Minute Neighborhoods
Rue de Dijon – 3 years of organic community building
Maxim Bragoli, La Pépinière | Espaces Collectifs, Montreal, QC, CANADA
City of Montreal, borough of Montreal North